Religious Museums in Vigan
Most of the sights and museums in Vigan that tourists visit are connected with the significant life and contributions of Vigan’s prominent sons and daughters. However, there are a couple of museums that are dedicated to the preservation of the memory of Vigan’s religious past, the Museo San Pablo and the Museo Nueva Segovia. Vigan became the seat of the Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia in 1758 after the transfer from Lallo, Cagayan, making Vigan the North’s seat of Roman Catholic power. It would be a great oversight if this significant aspect of Vigan’s past will not be preserved and valued by the locals, and discovered by visitors.
The existence of the Museo San Pablo and Museo Nueva Segovia ensures both.
Tourists can visit the Museo San Pablo after their tour of the magnificent Saint Paul Cathedral. The museo is located right behind the church. It is open everyday except Thursdays. However, it is better to make arrangements before visiting the museo if one is touring in big groups so that preparations can be made and a better learning experience can be had. The museum fee is minimal.
The Museo San Pablo’s goal is to contribute to the preservation and promotion of culture through a faith-culture approach, which is the first in the region. Visitors will be able to view within the museum photographs of Vigan in the 19th century by a German photographer. One will be able to see how the city has stayed true to how it looked in the past, as well as the changes that have inflicted themselves on this city. The Museo Nueva Segovia on the other hand is the museum of the Arzobispado or the Archbishop’s Palace. They are located a stone’s throw away from the Saint Paul Cathedral and Plaza Salcedo.
The Arzobispado itself is a tourist attraction. It was where the Archbishop of Nueva Segovia officially resides. From here, he administered the colonial churches. Its construction was finished in 1783 and it now is the lone 18th century arzobispado in the Philippines. The Arzobispado de Nueva Segovia was used as Gen. Emilio’s headquarters when they came to Vigan in 1898. In the following year, Col. James Parker and his American forces took over the headquarters and used it as their own. Within the Museo Nueva Segovia, visitors will find more objects of the past as they go through the archdiocesan archives and manuscripts, view the bishop’s antique portraits and pictures of ancient baroque churches, and visit the throne room. Visitors will find in the museo an extensive collection of religious artifacts and statues brought there from other Ilocos Sur churches when it was still the seat of Nueva Segovia.